The Verdict - The Lombardi Law Firm Blog
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Our lesson for today concerns news print reporting of medical malpractice reform measures. The lesson is that reporters should avoid heavy medication before editorializing about something they know nothing about.
To me it’s so typical. Another editorial pandering to the few advertisers newspapers have left, saying what the advertisers want to hear; regardless of the affect on society. In this case it says let’s all save money by making the injured patients pay for medical mistakes instead of those responsible for creating the injury or killing the patient. Today’s editorial is in the Coventry News and is written by Patrick Durusau. All I can say is shame on you Patrick. If anyone wishes to read the entire fairy tale that masquerades as an editorial follow the link. Here is part of what he writes.
"The current adversarial system between physicians and their patients benefits only three groups: medical malpractice insurers, medical malpractice defense and plaintiff lawyers. Abolishing medical malpractice is an important step in repairing the physician patient relationship. Getting physicians and patients on the same side will result in better medical care and, coincidentally, the demise of medical malpractice insurers and their familiars. That doesn’t bother me. How about you?" Patrick Durusau
I think he forgot the main beneficiaries of the medical litigation process: The injured patient, the surviving dependents or those patients not injured because of fear of being sued when you do something wrong that hurts the patient.
Don’t they count? Or are they the riffraff of Mr. Potter's world?
Either this reporter has a naïve view of life or he's pandering to his news organization’s paying advertise-customers. Perhaps he's just naive from never having interviewed a grieving widow raising hungry children alone after watching her husband die as a result of a failure to diagnose cancer or some other fatal disease? Get real Patrick; I suggest you visit the morgue and then interview the widows and widowers in major cities where health care can be downright factory like and prone to mistakes.
I rarely practice in this area so hold your tongue about me being just another lawyer trying to make a buck. I do consider myself a “plaintiff’s lawyer” because my practice is one where I represent people, not big insurance. I’m pretty typical for most small city or rural based lawyers. We don’t seek out medical malpractice cases; in fact we try to avoid them. They are way to expensive to litigate and wrought with landmines to make mistakes. Like many I have friends, colleagues and relatives who are practicing physicians. In Iowa we have just a handful of lawyers who practice full time in this area as specialists. We don’t have a problem, like I’m sure New York, California and Florida does. We have just a few cities, we have good doctors and yes a few that have made professional mistakes. Frankly we don’t need injured patients paying for someone else’s mistakes. We like our system of tort law; it’s served us well. We still have moral fiber that tells us those who make mistakes pay for their mistake.
I grew up in Rhode Island and know only too well the consequences of medical malpractice and a dead bread winner. My father died when I was 12, he left behind a 37 year-old wife and five children all under the age of 13. We never sued, even though the doctor diagnosed a pulled muscle instead of the lung cancer. I’m sure the doctor didn’t want to take an x-ray since it was as tort reformers say, “unnecessary and expensive.” That’s the defensive medicine I grew up with; it’s the same one that Mr. Durusau is advocating for the rest of us. That’s the kind of defensive medicine that you’ll say isn’t needed, is thought to be too expensive and a waste of time and money. That’s the kind of loyal patient and doctor friendly medicine that I grew up with. It’s the same kind of medicine that buried my father, put no food on our table, took away the one man who was going to send us to college and wasn’t there for my sister’s wedding, birthdays, deliveries, anniversaries or grocery shopping day. Oh it’s friendly alright. It’s friendly to big insurance company executives, but does nothing for the widows and orphans it leaves behind.
My mother kept a single can of shrimp in the pantry to let us know we weren’t poor. I guess it also meant we wouldn’t starve. At least I hoped that’s what it meant. We ate Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks and frozen French fries every Friday that we didn’t have corn chowder. God I hated both. The fish sticks tasted like burnt cardboard and were always overcooked while the fries were mushy and undercooked. Dr. Sandstone never did see what he’d created for this family of six trying to get by on Mom’s sewing money and a monthly Social Security check. Not exactly the kind of life my father had hoped for his wife and children. I often wonder what the outcome would have been like had he ordered that expensive and unnecessary $5 x-ray.
This editorializing reporter must have had a good life without any medical mistakes interrupting his education and family vacations. I say that because he’s got a naïve and foolish point of view that draws conclusions that border on being downright cruel. Before you join his world I invite you to look at his methodology for improving health care and delivering better medicine.
If we follow that logic all car collisions caused by distracted drivers would result in the digitally drunk and distracted teen driver getting a smile from the other drivers; well… at least those who aren’t dead or brain injured and the teens will somehow miraculously learn how to drive safer. How does not making those who make professional mistakes take responsibility make the system more responsible? I’m left wondering just how old our reporter is and what time of day he wrote this little ditty. Maybe he needs to stop drinking the Guinness so early in the day.
“If we abolish medical malpractice as we know it, physicians (not the government) would have to develop better ways to discover why "mistakes" happen and ways to prevent them from happening again. That is to change from a blame assignment/avoidance system to one that tries to improve the quality of care delivered to everyone. Wouldn’t that be a more useful part of a health care system?”
“The current adversarial system between physicians and their patients benefits only three groups: medical malpractice insurers, medical malpractice defense and plaintiff lawyers. Abolishing medical malpractice is an important step in repairing the physician patient relationship. Getting physicians and patients on the same side will result in better medical care and, coincidentally, the demise of medical malpractice insurers and their familiars. That doesn’t bother me. How about you?” Patrick Durusau, Coventry News
LET’S TAKE A TRIP to POTTER'S FIELD or DICKENS’ WORLD
Mr. Durusa there’s a little cemetery in a small quaint New England town with a brownish headstone bearing the name Lombardi. The stone has a polished face, a rough finish on thick edges with pink, white and red flowers that surround it. On the back side this gravestone has the name Charles A. Lombardi inscribed on it. Visit St. Mary’s Cemetery where Charlie lies and you’ll notice the surrounding grass is strong and healthy. That grass grows tall from the tears that have watered it for the past 41 years. Like Charlie, the doctor too is dead but I can say that during his lifetime I never saw him visit that grave to support the widow who stood strong for her five hungry children. The widow and her five children today live far from where Charlie lays waiting. I guess you can say we lived your friendlier medicine because we didn’t sue. That was 40+ years ago and I’m still waiting for the doctors to deliver better medicine. Are you sure of your theory? Because today as a 54 year-old-man whose had a front row seat to the “better medicine" you’ve described I’m not seeing the benefits... or a bigger can of shrimp.
The Durusau World of Friendly Medicine and Medical Tort Reform
Betting on tort reform speaks volumes about the mentality that dead workers are just part of a growing economy. It's the same mentality of an Administration that is oblivious to Wall Street greed.
The pace of construction on the Las Vegas strip is some of this country’s most hectic. Visit LasVegasStripDaily.com and you’ll see some of the finest buildings ever built and so many high rise buildings under construction than you’ve probably imagined. Take a look and you’re left with only one thought, simply amazing. But there is a price to be paid.
What you don’t see are the 12 construction workers whose lives have been lost building at projects underway since early in 2007. It’s hard for me to imagine that officials at those construction companies aren’t concerned with the loss of life; they have to be. NIOSH has been in to investigate and written their report. But the articles being published in the Las Vegas press, point to an illusion of safety, rather than real measures of safety. Alexandra Berzon has written a series on the subject and it’s a series well worth reading, especially if you are a construction worker. As you may know I’m big on reading about how other construction workers are being killed in order to know how to prevent a similar tragedy on other construction sites.
There has been much coverage and apparently not enough safety to slow down the death rate.
Construction Worker Deaths on the Strip:
Construction Worker Deaths on the Strip:
Construction Worker Deaths on the Strip:
With President Bush as unapologetic as ever these next few months promise to be a marathon of deregulation attempts by this Administration. They will test the metal of resistance to further deregulatory efforts on the part of his Administration. Deregulation like that occurred on April 28, 2004 at 2:30 PM by the SEC that brought this country to it’s knees. It isn’t enough that this Administration’s policies have caused the American taxpayer more than several trillion dollars of nonproductive spending. It’s not enough that those trillions of dollars could have been used to fix the bridges in American that are either functionally or structurally obsolete. It’s not enough that the Social Security fund continues to be headed to financial insolvency while we spend $10 Billion a month on rebuilding Iraq.
Republicans are you listening?
What is going on in America? What is going on in the American mind? We sit idly by as this Administration continues on its path of destruction seemingly oblivious to further damage to the fabric that holds this country together. The Bush Administration should feel shame for the environment they have created that has allowed greed to become the soup de jour on Wall Street. This is not the case. With its head held high, chest puffed out like a bandy rooster the Administration moves to make further regulatory changes they see as necessary and that will surely cause years of damage to America. At what point does pride become foolish? At what point does America wake up to the fact this President is not smart enough to lead this country? At what point will this country’s Congressional leadership take the reigns and shut down any and all efforts by this Administration to do anything.
More than six years ago I thought that while impeachment would be costly for America it would in the end be less expensive than the cost to repair the damage this Administration would surely do to America before the first term ended. I only wish my prediction had been incorrect. In many ways the actions of this Administration mirror the construction on the Las Vegas strip. They continue to forge ahead at a frenetic pace leaving carnage in their wake, undeterred by the damage they have caused and the lives they have disrupted or ruined. Like Las Vegas, we will survive this President and his policies that if continued unabated would surely befall America as greed befell the Roman Empire. Greed has become a cultural norm that is driving us into bankruptcy.
Republicans have to start thinking about more than just re-election campaign contributions.
This President lacked several developmental skills on the day he took office, and he still does. If the Kennedy Administration was Camelot, the Bush Administration is the Wizard of Oz. If Camelot was John and Jackie’s Theme song then If Only I Had A Brain is the theme song for this Administration.
If Only I Had A Brain
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain
I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain
With the thoughts you'd be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean's near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I'd sit and think some more
I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain
But I’m getting off the topic. We need to get this President out of office and to get this country back on track. The Republican Party is ruining itself as a political force by abandoning the principles that made it sensibly popular a few years ago. The Republican candidates are selling their souls to the highest bidder, the Religious Right and cloaking themselves with Wall Street avarice. At this point if it’s not apparent to John McCain and those who control the Party, the party is over because the Emperor has no clothes. Get back to basics, stop spending, pay off debt, stay out of the business of other countries, focus on the problems of this country even when that means regulations and higher taxes and the Republican Party can once again rise from the dead. Winning for the sake of winning is much like Conservative Chic that promotes popularity over principle. In other words, jettison the Barbie Doll from Alaska; she makes no sense.
Is the Republican Party dead? No but this Administration has gone to great lengths to drive nail after nail into the Republican coffin. The Republican’s left in the Senate and House would gain much political capital with voters by stopping this Administration in its tracks before this President leaves office in January. Do everything you can as Congressmen to stop him and his efforts that further damage this country.
Life is like a sewer - what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. Tom Lehrer
Here are the facts. The good people of San Francisco, over 12,000 of them, signed a petition in support of a Proposition, a local ballot effort to rename the Oceanside Sewage Plant after President G.W. Bush. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, who interned with John F. Kerry's legal team during the Presidential election in 2004, took offense to the San Francisco effort and wrote The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace, What must our enemies be thinking? The Wall Street Journal published the piece on November 5, 2008.
Mr. Shapiro raises an issue that probably needs little introduction but today we will explore why Americans might believe a mural of the President on a tank that holds human waste is a legitimate expression rather than comfort to our enemies. So let's try to answer the question,
Is it disgraceful to follow the example of the United States President set by him through the eight years he has been sitting in office?
To answer that question let us examine the record of this President and his Administration and the example together they have set.
The end justifies the means -
America invaded Iraq on what was essentially a lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction and before the American invasion there were no terrorists or suicide bombers in Iraq. By the way what end were we trying to accomplish?
Red States vs. Blue States -
Create competition and the American people will compete. Use hate as a tool for competition and in return you get the same. Pit brother against brother, get families fighting and guess what they fight and yes you may get some blood on your suit.
Straights vs. Gays -
The argement has been made that marriage is a sacred institution involving only a man and a woman. The argument begs us to forget the number of divorces in America, the instances of spousal abuse, child abuse and homicides between spouses. Forget OJ Simpson and paligamy and the like, marriage is a sacred institution. Subconsciously we can't forget all of this and the Administration knows this so they have to stir up emotions so that people forget rational thought. Well you're getting what you asked for; did you think Amercians with gay pride were going to sit there and do nothing after you've gutted their rights, attempted to drag them down to your level and told them they are a disgrace?
Hate begets hate -
The Bible tells us something about this subject. Mr. President you seem to use that Bible quite a bit during election campaigns, but then put it away at the end. It tells us that hate begs hate. You and the religious right shouldn't be surprised.
Do As I Say Not As I Do -
Isn't this what you wanted? Didn't you want the Red State Citizens and the Blue State Citizens to fight it out, for the red to disgrace the blue, to impose on one another their views no matter how disrepectful they may be? Isn't that the example your Adminstration set? You remember, the end justifies the means.
Maybe Mr. Shapiro is just missing the point -
Maybe the good people of San Francisco are being misunderstood. Maybe they really do want to follow your Administration's example and there isn't anything left to name. At the spending rate of $10Billion or more per month it's just possible this is the most valued infrastructure object left in San Francisco.
When war consumes the resources of a nation the value of a good porcelein toilet is treasured. Dwight Eisenhower said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." - Dwight Eisenhower, 1953 speech.
Reap what you have sown -
Your administrations sowed seeds of hate and discontent and now the fruits of your labor are coming to fruition. You'd be wise to watch more movies. Michael Corleon in Godfather III had this advice for you. "Never hate your enemies; it will cloud your thinking." And, remember the Dixie Chicks? Remember the campaign of hate that followed? Remember how you instead of taking the high road as any American President should have done, you fanned the flames of hate and discontent. Instead of just saying you heard what they said and that in America we have the freedom to disagree but that you liked their music; you just couldn't leave it alone.
Hate is a cancer that spreads one cell at a time. David Pelzer, Author
Hate begets hate. Martin Luther King
The end justifies the means -
To disagree with the President during a war is unAmerican - That was your campaign tactic in 2004. Here are two shining examples of the social order you sort to create:
Man Criticizes Bush On A Range Of Policies versus "Don't taser me bro!" So now why do we hear your supporters shouting,
What did I do? What did I do? I didn't do anything! Don't name that sewer plant after me Bro!
Bushisms at work -
The Law of isms - McCarthyism, racism, sexism, Nazism - you name the ism and it was used in the 2004 election. In 2008 they called Obama a socialist while your Administration utilized socialist principles to bail out Wall Street. Capitalism on the way up; Socialism on the way down. Religious Right couldn't be more anti-Christian in it's message. Killing is wrong, outlaw abortion but forget DNA testing, just kill every man on death row. That is a Bushisms right out of the 2000 and 2004 campaign play books. Like they said, live by the sword die by the sword.
Mr. President they are trying to give you a history lesson -
Just maybe the good people of San Francisco are saying, We didn't start the fire!
Is this a matter of free speech? -
How soon you've forgotten the Dixie Chicks. Let me take you back to June 2006, standing on the stage with Natalie at Shephard's Bush, the scene of the crime. She voiced opposition to your war and followed up with her Texas slant of "Just so you know we are ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." They got the cowboy boot from the record business. What did you say then? Did you take the high road as any President should? I'll remind you; you said it was just a matter of free speech. And maybe that is what this is all about in San Francisco. You take a look at the evidence and see what you think. Not all of the American people agreed with what Natalie said, but that didn't mean they agreed with you either.
Protesting the Dixie Chicks
President Bush versus Natalie Maines - to quote you Mr. President, "They can say what they want to say. ... They shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people (want the President's image up on the sewer plant.) ... Freedom of speech is a two way street."
Everyone dislikes a bully -
Toby vs. Dixie Chicks - The American President is supposed to take the high road and set an example that brings the counrty together, not further apart. The President of the United States shouldn't exploit the differences between the American people. After all did Toby Keith ever serve in the armed service or was it enough to send someone else's kids to die while young Toby made millions of dollars playing his guitar? Remember the name of Mr. Keith's band? The Easy Money Band. Like you Mr. President Toby Keith looked more and more like an ignorant bully. With his war of words Mr. Keith did nothing to improve country music and neither have your war of words improved the United States.
This is more than murals on sewer plants -
What's really going on here? The Peter Principle is something we learned about in Psych 101. The Peter Principle is the principle that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." Are the good people of San Francisco really asking the question; Were you smart enough for the job? Is a person who butcher's the Kings English like you do intelligent enough to be President of the United States?
Participation Trophy Syndrome -
Parents all across the United States demand that youth soccer hand out participation trophys. Trophies handed out not for merit and hard work, but just for showing up at the banquet. Only losers want a participation trophy; winners want to win one. It's the trophy that encourages making just showing up a trophied event. "You mean I have to work at this job?"
You've got to give me a trophy because I showed up is not different you've got to vote for me because I'm your President and we are in the midst of a war.
The motto of your 2004 election was, Anything to just win! There's something to say about the attitude that acts and says anything just to win. It's the attitude I saw with the kids who actually wanted, no expected, a participation trophy. When you pit red against blue, black against white, gay versus straight, American against American just to win, then don't complain when you start to hear and see the same mentality being used by your detractors. You started it in 2000 and in 2004 we all knew you were not up for the job, but you won; because to do otherwise would have been unAmerican. And that is what Mr. Shapiro seems to be saying. As bad as you are if we don't support you we give comfort to those who dislike you; are enemies. Mr. President you took office with just under half of America hating what you stood for. And to no surprise the American people still hate what you Administration stands for; probably more than our enemies do.
"Live by the sword, die by the sword"
Here is the lesson to be learned. You're getting what you asked for. You're getting attitudes like those set by your Administrations. You unsheathed the sword, lived by it for eight years and now you can't get the good people of San Francisco to resheath their own. Mr. President you are dying by your own sword of putting the brakes on free expression. Like you said to the Dixie Chicks, it's just a matter of free expression.
"This is a metaphorical expression meaning that living one's life in a certain way will, in the end, affect one's destiny. The proverb comes from the Book of Matthew, verse 26:52, which describes the apostle Peter drawing a sword to defend Jesus against Roman soldiers, but is told to sheath the weapon: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
-Matthew 26:52, King James Version
While the expression strictly-interpreted means "those who live by violence will die by violence", it is also used for a variety of situations which contain an element of poetic justice. For instance the proverb could be used to describe a person who regularly drives under the influence and is ultimately killed in a vehicle accident caused by their intoxication. A deeper meaning aludes to "those who judge will be judged" in reference to Mathew 7:2 and Luke 6:37 which can also be interpreted as poetic justice for those observed to be wrongfully condemning others. Other variants on this phrase are also commonly used."
Is this simply Poetic Justice? -
Mr. Shapiro, isn't renaming the sewer plant simply a literay device in which vice is being punished? Isn't this the President's Poetic Justice?
"Poetic justice is a literary device in which virtue is ultimately rewarded or vice punished, often in modern literature by an ironic twist of fate intimately related to the character's own conduct. In Western literature, the structure of poetry, prose and drama to have justice originates in Aristotle's Poetics. Aristotle says that poetry is superior to history in that it shows what should or must occur, rather than merely what does occur."
God is punishing you -
On November 5, 2008, the same day Mr. Shapiro's article ran in the Wall Street Journal my mother had her 81st birthday. Like I've said before Mom had a way with words. She wasn't an English major and never attended college. But Mom had a way with words. Mr. President if you knew my mother you would know that she doesn't like you and that as she was quick to point out when we did something stupid, "God is punishing you."